‘Silent code’ Islwyn AM hits back over criticisms

8:20am Friday 21st February 2014

By David Deans - Politics reporter

THE Islwyn AM set to stand down in 2016 has suggested he prefers to ask questions outside of Assembly sessions rather than in them.

Labour’s Gwyn Price has faced mockery on social media after saying he is to step down at the next election to spend more time with his family.

But the AM told the Argus he has no complaints from his constituents – and Caerphilly council’s leader Harry Andrews said he will be missed.

On Wednesday his Wikipedia page was vandalised to say he was leaving the Assembly to concentrate on an autobiography called “Code of Silence”.

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One Welsh Lib Dem researcher, Will Griffiths, said on Twitter that his decision was “no loss... since he rarely spoke or contributed in Assembly proceedings.”

His office has dismissed criticism of Mr Price’s perceived lack of contribution to the Assembly as party political and said Mr Price tables a number of questions to ministers.

Mr Price, 65, had spoken during First Minister’s Questions in the Assembly on Tuesday.

“I do ask questions. I’ve got loads of questions that I ask,” he said. “I’ve got a style that I’ve used all my life, where I approach people maybe in corridors and get the answer.

“Where perhaps others may need to say it in the chamber, I didn’t feel I needed to do that.”

Mr Price, former deputy leader of Caerphilly council who trained as a miner at the age of 15, said he is happy for what he does for his constituents “because I have had no complaints at all”.

As well as asking questions of ministers, AMs also take part in other debates in the Assembly, like on the proposed smacking ban or on the Williams Commission.

The AM, elected in 2011, was asked what was the last debate he contributed to the Assembly, but he didn’t recall one in his answer: “The debating part, to me, I do it out in the corridors, I do it through my surgeries and I do it through my committees.

“I look, I listen, I take it all in. If I think my colleagues are covering the questions then, that’s the way it is, because I am somebody who gets things done for my constituents here.”

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